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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 16, 2010 6:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Whats so damn atheistical about the dead?

Oh yeah, I can see how the lyrics can be taken literally, and such...my point was that they can also be ascribed to being virtually meaningless, or viewed in a purely historical, culturally traditional sense...we sing lots of songs that have morphed from their origin, and we just like the structure of the lyrics and music and such...the DEAD played lots of tunes in which this was true (ie, Hunter would say there is little "strict literal" significance; rather, the words just "fit" well in the progression.

My other point is that if the DEAD were as religious as many seem to think, we would have heard more about it...with all that has been written about them all, over the thirty yrs and more of the band's activities, clearly, or at least to me, religious activities just were not apart of what the boys did on or off stage. It wasn't that they kept their personal lives completely isolated either--we'd know if they were practicing, either within mainstream, or even in a spiritual sense, it seeems to me.

So, I would conclude by saying I can see where folks are coming from with a particular interpretation from the literal sense of lyrics, but given alternative explanations for those song choices, and the absence of any hard evidence of the boys spirituality in most any sense, I conclude it was not a big part of the experience. It certainly wasn't in the 60s and 70s in the Bay Area.

I will note that in scanning some additional material for this discussion the last day or two, I did come across a great deal related to movements in the late 80s and 90s suggesting that some heads clearly bought into a strange, cultish aspect of the DEAD, and a "myth" of their significance in this domain blossomed (ie, the DEAD as a religious experience, literally). So, that might have something to do with it later...

All speculation in the end, of course; more so than usual I guess.

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Poster: spacedface Date: Jan 16, 2010 5:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Whats so damn atheistical about the dead?

"the absence of any hard evidence of the boys spirituality in most any sense, I conclude it was not a big part of the experience. It certainly wasn't in the 60s and 70s in the Bay Area."

While they didn't wear their hearts on their sleeves, what I gather from coincidence is different from you.

The imagery of the songs and videos, the sources, interviews on experiences of Garcia and fans, and associations do indicate significant spirituality, sincere if somewhat superficial at times.

But I wouldn't ascribe the lack of talking about the IT of good shows meant there the GD really thought it was just another Saturday night. Why else would people put up with so many so-so shows. The GD experience was hardly secular -- to the point of Garcia saying there was experience at shows that involved giving up your will and he didn't want to responsible. I can't find the quote on that one, so I don't know if it was from Signposts, a mimeographed interview that floated around, something from The Golden Road, or from Gans.

Here's some stuff on a day called Ritual & Rapture with Joseph Campbell, Garcia, Hart and others:
http://www.sirbacon.org/joseph_campbell.htm